According to the American Farm Bureau, President Trump's crackdown on immigration could well result in massive labor shortages for farmers and translate into higher grocery bills for U.S. consumers.
The administration's current approach to immigration, largely based on enforcement, could have a devastating affect on farm labor, the Farm Bureau says, adding that if agriculture were to lose access to all undocumented workers, agricultural output would fall by $30 to $60 billion.
The enforcement only option would increase #FoodPrices by 5-6 percent, the Farm Bureau predicts, with domestic fruit production off by 30-61 percent and vegetable production down 15-31percent. The livestock sector would also suffer lost production in the 13-27 percent range.
There are certain farm jobs, like tending livestock and pruning or picking fresh produce, that require a human touch, the Farm Bureau points out, and where American workers are unwilling or unavailable, workers from other countries have gladly filled the gap.
"The ideal approach would be enforcement with an adjustment of status and a redesigned guest worker program," the Farm Bureau states. "This approach would result in no increase in food prices. There would be minimal decreases in fruit, vegetable, grain, and livestock production."
"Congress needs to pass responsible #immigrationreform that addresses agriculture’s current experienced workforce and creates a new flexible guest worker program," the Farm Bureau states. "Instability in the agricultural workforce places domestic food production at risk--increasing immigration enforcement without also reforming our worker visa program could cost America $60 billion in agricultural production."
So for consumers, the #DonaldTrump policies, such as the #ICEraids on undocumented workers that began today, can be expected to translate into what amounts to a heavy tax on food, depending on just how much prices rise due to the lack of enough migrant farm workers.
And, the loss of that work force could have a significant negative affect on farmers' income, on top of the impact of the administration's tariff tantrum on farmers.
Despite all of this, President Trump retains steady and substantial support from America's farmers, according to the Farm Journal, which reported the results of a survey indicating that despite the ongoing trade war with China over tariffs and a 2019 average net-farm income projected to be less than half of what it was in 2013, Trump's support among farmers remains strong.
Of the 1,129 farmers who responded to the survey, 50% said they strongly approve while another 24% say they somewhat approve of the president and his policies.
And when food prices begin to skyrocket because of Trump's hateful attack on immigrants, will the average consumer understand who is to blame?
Most likely, not.